Swedish EU Affairs Minister Cecilia Malmström unveiled the logo of her country’s upcoming EU presidency on Monday (2 March). The design, a golden S-shaped curve dividing – or perhaps uniting – two blue sides was described by the winning advertising agency, Bacon Advertising, as reflecting “openness, dialogue, climate and light”.
The winning submission’s text suggests that climate change and the environment will be given a high profile during the presidency. Indeed, the Swedish government has set its sights on preparing the path for a successful conclusion to the UN Copenhagen summit on climate change in December.
Speaking at the College of Europe recently, Malmström said that Sweden will “play a crucial role in ensuring that the EU delivers on climate, environment and energy” during its presidency.
At 1.3 million krona (112,580 EUR), the cost of the logo is substantially lower than the logo of Sweden’s previous presidency. The 2009 logo cost 300,000 krona (25,980 EUR) less than the 2001 one.
Smaller budgets will no doubt play a major part in the six-month presidency, with the Swedes hoping that the golden S-shaped curve will not be interpreted as a financial earthquake, dividing Europe between east and west. Calls by Hungary for a multi-billion bailout plan for Eastern European states in financial difficulty went unanswered at an EU summit on 1 March (EURACTIV 1/03/09).
Like all European countries, Sweden is concerned about the current financial outlook. However, as a country where the accession of the Central and Eastern European countries to the Union was broadly welcomed, the Swedes are eager to see a positive, equitable solution to the financial crisis. According to Fredrik Langdal, a researcher at the Swedish Institute of European Policy Studies, “there is currently a debate in Sweden as to what role they can play in resolving this economic crisis in Europe”.
Open markets and open borders for migrants
Malmström argued that “to ensure our economic and future prosperity in Europe we need open markets. We need markets allowing money and people to move from declining into growing industries. We need to devote resources to research, innovation, better education and training systems. We need an open global trading system”.
Significantly the logo is also globe-shaped, reflecting Sweden’s desire to see Europe engage with open markets and globalisation. Not only does Sweden welcome the challenges of the global economy and sees a future for Europe in meeting these challenges, it also wants to ward off any hints that the EU is building some kind of fortress for itself.
“We need more people working,” said Malmström. “Despite this, some member states perceive migration as a problem rather than an opportunity. Increased mobility and migration puts new demands on harmonised legislation.”
‘Stockholm programme’ on immigration
The Swedish government will work to adopt a new five-year programme in the area of justice and home affairs, the so-called Stockholm programme on immigration. In developing a common migration policy, the Swedes will strive to “improve policy coherence between migration and development,” reiterated Malmström.
Sweden also relishes engagement with the European neighbourhood. The Nordic country has traditionally been positive on enlargement. Malmström describes Sweden as having “a strong interest in the membership of Turkey, as should the EU as a whole”. The Swedes also wish to keep the door open for those that can meet the criteria. Tellingly, Malmström mentioned that “as a Swede, I would also welcome an application from Iceland”.
Malmström, and the Swedish presidency’s logo, both suggest that open dialogue will be the byword of the Swedish Presidency. Malmström clearly indicated that climate change will be the priority focus of such dialogue.